by Nevaeh Fuentez, Advertising Manager & Staff Writer
This year, two seniors from Indian Trail tried to make history. Dajanay Greenwood and Lauren Manning ran together as two “Homecoming queens” and were very open about it in their campaign. They quickly gathered the support of many students and clubs, including GSA, Women’s Empowerment, Student Council officers, and Key Club, just to name a few.
As the campaign went on they both made it onto the ballot, which meant the race was in full swing. Daja and Lauren, after openly campaigning with each other and announcing they were planning to win together, had both made it onto court.
They sat down with Mrs. Droessler and shortly after, Daja sent an email to Mr. Kennow stating, “It was apparent to us that with the current voting rules we have, it is not possible [for us both to win].”
Dajanay is an active member in the school and currently holds the position of Student Council president. She asked Mr. Kennow, “If a boy and a girl can run together with a mere hope to win, why can’t Lauren and I?”
Mr. Kennow had responded, saying they “have had discussions about changing protocols to keep up with the times” and he “expects that changes are coming at some point in the near future.” He made it clear that he “is more than willing to discuss” and that meetings have been set to figure out the possibility for later years. This may seem like a win, but more problems quickly arose shortly after.
In an interview with Ms. Droessler she explained her perspective on the situation. “Allowing same-sex couples to win would automatically force the school to campaign as couples.” She added that “It almost never happens that the couples that campaign together win together.”
Harborside has announced that they plan on changing homecoming king and queen to homecoming royalty. Without running as couples. Ms. Droessler also said this year’s homecoming would be more inclusive which would lead Daja and Lauren to believe that they were allowed to run but when asked about it, Ms. Droessler said, “The term inclusive is incredibly vague” and when further questioned “could not recall” the meaning she had intended with that statement.
Dajanay and Lauren had been openly campaigning together, and with both of them on court and for their supporters Dajanay was told there was no chance of them being able to win was heartbreaking. Both Lauren and Daja made it clear that if they couldn’t win together they did not want to be in the race at all, which, for many supporters, was a crushing defeat.
Daja says they were not informed “until the day before the Homecoming court was announced” and if she hadn’t asked campaign officials directly, “The odds of them telling me [were]slim to none”. Ms. Dreossler admits that “she should have jumped in at that point” and “re-explained the rules.”
Because Dajanay is so involved in the school she had already thought of a more inclusive plan for the school, one that would help not only her but the school as a whole for years to come. In the email she sent to Mr. Kennow, the proposed plan would be utilizing a Google Form that gives students the option to nominate their top two choices regardless of gender. Ms. Droessler says she “never perceived it as a plan” because they had “no firm discussions about it” but on October 1st 2022, ten full days before homecoming court was announced they [Daja, Lauren, Laurens mother, and Droessler] had a joint Facetime call to discuss solutions to this issue.
Daja also addresses other possible concerns, saying, “Students also do not know how the voting process for this year will be yet so it won’t be a conundrum to the student body.” This process keeps things fair and doesn’t make it a “confirmed win” for Dajanay and Lauren. The main issue for Ms. Droessler was the belief that people “had to be coupled up” and she states this belief came through because of a “miscommunication and lack of thorough conversations.”
Daja and Lauren hope to continue this conversation but seeing as they are both seniors, it would be easy for the school to ignore this issue until they both graduate. In her official statement, Daja says,“We’re both disappointed in the school. We had the support of so many and still have the support of many. Although we couldn’t get this now, we’re more than happy with the fact future years will now have these options.”
The solutions Dajanay gave would not just be more inclusive because of the possibilities of two queens or two kings but would also encompass any nonbinary students that don’t feel they fit into one category or the other.
The Homecoming season having ended, the only question in the minds of many students seems to be: Will there ever be a convenient time for this big change to occur?